The ART (tips) of Moogh

Moogh is a game that I both did the game design but also illustrations and graphic design. The great thing about being 360 is that you shape the story you want. I am so proud that the game is out there being played as Print and Play but I am also very grateful to anyone who backed the campaign.

I want her to tell you how I worked on Moogh illustrations. See the campaign here

Imagining a world long time ago

I think one af the big difficulties when illustrating Cavepeople and prehistoric animals is that the preserved history is made of some cavedrawings and archeological findings. So I wanted everything to feel like part of the Moogh universe – all from icons and interface to illustrations. But I also wanted to add flavour to the classic view of cavepeople, giving them more character and funny clothing. During the development icons changed several times but my original caveman laid the style. The following writing is more tips for illustrating than a Moogh specific story.

Size and format

Having to redo artworks can be a pain. I always try to get the right resolution and aspect on my artwork before I start. I Sometimes make sketches to test the full workflow from sketch to game. I often use https://www.boardgamesmaker.com/ to find templates for standard cards.. When all is right format and color space I can start. 

Scale

cmyk, rgb, 72 dpi or 300 dpi or a4  etc. This is something many designers want to know. I often hear designers say “ I don’t want pixel size – just centimetres” or “you don’t measure in pixels for print – you use dpi”.  Fact is that dpi, pixels and measure are a holy triangle. Change one and at least one of the others needs to change. DPI (dots per inch) makes most sense for printing material since it measures how many “pixels” will be put on the paper in each axis within one inch (2,5 cm ish)  – so you shouldn’t think or talk about dpi when you make anything online. But a monitor is often 72 dpi or 96 dpi if you really want to have a measure.

Imagine you got a facebook post – which is normally 1080×1080 pixels. How long is that in cm? well it depends on the dpi. If you print one dpi then it will be 1080 inches long (762 cm). So if you change the pixel amount – you either need to change the dpi to keep the length or visa versa. I probably lost you by now.

For print 150-300 dpi is sufficient. Print Shops usually want 300 dpi  . But when you make a standard card this is not very many pixels (about 1122px high). When I say not many – I mean for artwork. If your artwork is only in poker card size 300 dpi.. You won’t be able to scale it much up. So for cards I often use 600 dpi for the artboard – and then I later have the option to crop the image without losing quality (for a 300 dpi print)

Colour

Everyone learns that print art should be cmyk (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). And our game should be printed right? What colour space do I use for illustrations then? RGB. Yes, that’s right. Why? Well because you are probably not only going to show you art on print but also online lots of places. A monitor (since it emits energy from each led) can actually show more vibrant colors that we can put on print. Choose the most saturated pink in photoshop in cmyk and then change to rgb and you will be able to make it even more vibrant. This is the simple reason you make art in rgb and converts it to cmyk – because if you go the other way you will not have the best looking images.

rgb (lots of colors) -> cmyk (less vibrant colors)   /  cmyk (less vibrant colors) -> rgb (still not vibrant) 

Sketching

For Moogh I tested to sketch in Clip Studio Paint instead of Photoshop. I just love CSP – it is super responsive with your pen and has awesome functionality like using sketch layers lines to control fills on different layers or gap closing lines when you fill. I am also thrilled about CSP blending brushes – but with Moogh I exported the sketches with some fill layers to photoshop for painting.  Over time I have collected and sorted photoshop brushes and I keep trying to make groups of brushes that relate to a project so I can always go back and ‘replicate’ the initial style.

Coloring

Go wild. In moogh I really played with many different tones of skin color – and I really like that. 

Import to indesign

Sometimes I import a photoshop with several artworks into illustrator. The problem is that if you at a later stage change anything in layers visibility – InDesign will lose the connection and all images already placed will often swap. That is why it might be better to export each separate artwork in the file..

Moogh art has been done with care. I really tried to incorporate a lot of stone, plants and leather. And the characters should range from cool to dumb. I really hope you like the art and will have fun playing Moogh.

Secure your MOOGH copy here. Campaign is live

Best Niklas

How to Improve Your Digital Paintings (for Board Games): Part three

How to Improve Your Digital Paintings (for Board Games): Part three

Did you miss part I & part II ?

PAINTING

Focus on that brush

This was a big help to me. I used to have a big library of brushes and I always ended up testing every one of them when I was painting – making me unfocused on the essential part: PAINTING. I never relly knew what kind of brushes I had in my inventory. Often when you paint traditionally you would know the capabilities and how your pen or brush works and feels. It was time for a clean up! 

I made a new brush set with my 100 favorites (20 would be even better). With this limitation, I suddenly started to know how almost every brush worked when I was swapping brushes. Having one, two, or three main painting brushes can help you focus on the important stuff: volume and distance made with value and color.

Having one, two, or three main painting brushes can help you focus on the important stuff: volume and distance made with value and color.

Learn from traditional

In my early years, I started painting miniatures. One of the main rules in painting tin figures is not to start with the color of the object (like painting the hat yellow), but to start with giving the whole figure a base color. This brings harmony and depth to all the colors you choose to apply afterward. 

Most artists that have tried traditional oils or acrylics know that putting a so-called imprimatura (a base color layer) to the canvas before painting will help you choose more unified colors and values. Next time you are coloring your digital painting, start by adding a medium gray or brown on the background layer. You could even try starting out by taking a big rough brush and adding broad strokes and some tone variance in the background.

Build colors and shapes from big to small and from dark to light

You can actually go both ways, but, usually, it is much easier to define shapes and create hard edges when you make silhouettes in a darker color and then add light to the peaks in the shape volume. With miniatures, you sometimes have to go the other way because you could not layer a light color on top of a darker one.

Colors are an illusion of the mind

Using colors right can actually lift a simple drawing to something extraordinary. If you are not working in Corel Painter, which already has a color wheel, I would get the plugin ColorUs for Photoshop. I like how easily I can see the color relationships and how I can work in a small part of the color triangle and jump to extremes for emphasis.

In your next piece, also try to mix a color palette before you start and stick to it. Listen to this great podcast from Board Game Design Lab speaking to Ryan Laukat about art in games and if you want to have a give a real gaming experience check the info at cdwow.ie

Simple method of coloring

https://www.behance.net/gallery/28622315/Character-Design-Coloring-Tutorial

How colors can lift your work

https://www.behance.net/gallery/45289043/Casperade-winter-backgrounds

Great detail is not always great

At least for games. Of course, this is very subjective. Many players love details and can’t have too many. Personally, I like game elements less when they use huge pieces of art for their card design. It seems disproportionate to me. Next time you look at the images in your favourite game components, [2] examine the level of detail.

Unless you are a master artist, too many details can ruin the overall feel and energy of your image. This is also  a lot of hours wasted on something that may not have added value to the game.

I would advice to select only a few areas to add details to and instead work on contrast and light sources in the image. You could use contrast sparingly if you want to direct attention to a specific area of the image. If you browse art on artstation and deviantArt, you will see that many character paintings have much finer details in the face area and a lot less detail around the shoes or in the background.

Layers give options

Yes – but next time, try to work with only a few layers. With limited options, it is easier to focus on the important stuff. Try merging your linework and color layers and start painting on top of it so that your lines eventually disappear. Depending on the look you are going for, it can be fun to try.

MUD – a new pill in the box?

Pillbox Games – the creators of the beautiful Side Effects are launching something new. Last we talked with Ben Bronstein about his art – which you can read here. So I welcome Pillbox back on GreenHookGames to tell us more. Digital marketing may include a full suite of methods like social media advertising, email newsletters, affiliate programs, online trade shows, marketing video etc. With so many methods and techniques, you may have a hard time developing a marketing strategy for your business. That’s why you should narrow down your options and choose the best strategy that works.!!It is best for your to read this post here, for the best marketing services.

Start by telling us how Side Effects was received. 

I couldn’t be happier with the reception we got, especially considering it was our first game. Every person who worked on the project gave something special to it. Have to give credit to Panda GM for how fantastic the final product came (especially the pre-press team).

Work in progress

Good – now let’s hear about the new game ‘MUD’. Why did you make it and what is it about?

I think it was inevitable that given our interest at Pillbox Games in making real world systems into games that we’d eventually make our own spin out of the ultimate real life game: Politics. Especially given the current environment there has been constant fodder for game scandal concepts. That being said, we made a concerted effort to draw bipartisanly from a wide range American history and not to focus too much on current events.

MUD by Pillbox
Work in progress
Sketch
Work in progress
Work in progress

That sounds wonderful and explosive 🙂 Looking at the images we see that you are somewhat staying true to your elaborate and perfected graphical style. It looks great. What considerations have you done about which art style to go with?

I think if you enjoy tabletop gaming to any extent, you have to enjoy systems, and figuring out a system to convey the information we had in mind was incredibly fun. First we wanted to reference actual American documents, so government emblems, campaign posters, vintage ballots, political cartoons and currency were the first thing we collected and referenced.

Then we had to figure out a system of conveying numerous parallel suits to our cards without confusing the player too much. (A little confusion can be a good thing, as it allows a player to sneak by or deceive their opponents during gameplay). Rather than having multiple suits in the style of a poker deck, we realized that utilizing the entirety of the card was the best solution, click to see the game and start playing. We basically have 3 suits; political leaning, economic class, and region. After a lot of tweaking, we realized the background pattern was best for political leaning, the border was excellent at conveying economic class, and then a central piece of art could clearly show a regional map. After that, we just had to figure out unique and differentiable color schemes for each category. 

Work in progress

Is there any place to go if we want to stay updated on the release and your works?

  • Instagram @Pillboxgames
  • The PillBlog on our website (pillboxgames.com)

I’d say Pillbox’s official instagram is the main place you should stay updated for all our games. Once we launch, I’m sure our Kickstarter page will also be just as prominent. My personal social media postings have basically dried up since the pandemic. 

Kickstarter launches on October 6! And you can still buy copies of Side Effects at pillboxgames.com.

THANK you! We will keep an eye out. And thank you for sharing a print and play here.

Print & Play: 


On the cover with James Churchill

You know those box covers that just seem to not only capture the atmosphere of some distant place – but also are soo well balanced it is the perfect board game cover? That is how I feel about James Churchill’s illustrations. I hope you can be inspired by this interview about his art. Welcome back. If you changing your home or office the most important things that you have to consider is the moving company.

Tell us a little about your artistic background?

I studied Graphic Design and Fine Art for 6 years at University from 1985 to 1991, which included life drawing, illustration, painting, photography and sculpture. For the past 30 years, I’ve been working in Theme Parks, Feature Films and other areas. I’ve only been working in the game industry for the past five years. 

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Illustrations on the border to board games – by Evgeny Viitman

Is a digital board game a board game? Where do you look for artists for your game? I find inspiration on behance.net among other places – and that was where I found Evgeny. I immediately fell in love with his strong expressive comic characters – and several of his works looked like digital games playing with analog references. I hope that he will be working on a board game project soon – his art rocks! If you enjoy board games you may enjoy to online gambling at http://cityout.lt/what-are-no-deposit-bonuses/ you can find all what you need to know about this kind of games.

Check this website vipcasinosites.com it is a great casino online that has a lot of options for you to have fun and win prizes while you do it.

Hi Evgeny – where are you from?

Heyo! I was born in sunny Alma-ata in Kazakhstan which is right on the border with China, surrounded by beautiful Tyan Shan mountains. When I was a teenager my family moved to Siberia (still a big mystery for me, why), at the age of 23 I moved to Europe, to Prague, where I spent good 6 years of my life, then moved to Berlin, now me and my family are based in Barcelona.

Tell us a little about your artistic background and how did you end up working with art for games?

I am coming from a family of theatrical artists (my parents are scenographers and character designers working for theatre and also teaching painting, drawing and sculpting at the Art Academy, so I was exposed to art since I was born. Nevertheless, because of my teenage rebel feelings I wanted to become everything else but an artist, I chose to study physics, but life has directed me to follow the path of my parents and with time I switched to art anyway. My first experience as a game artist was in 2006 when I was working for Unigine.corp as a 3D artist/animator. Then it all started – I tasted the gamedev and dived under it’s muddy waters.

Have you ever worked on any board games or card games? 

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Vibrating lines from Cam Kendell

Illustration by Cam Kendell from the game 5-Minute Mystery

Some of my favorite game art is polished yet expressive and distinct at the same time. When I came across the board game 5-Minute Mystery I knew that we needed to feature the vibrating lines from the illustrator here on GHG. The name is Cam Kendell and he is from Utah, USA.

Tell us a little about your artistic background? 

I grew up drawing countless Ninja turtles, He-Man characters, and an endless supply of Jim Davis-esque animal characters. Comic Strips were my main form of artistic outlet. I drew a lot up until High School when I slowed down to focus on Music and learn to play the accordion.

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Zoom in on Sophie Wainwright

Just before Essen, I was contacted by a Núria Casellas, from Cucafera Games. She was curious if I would take a look at their newest game ‘Zoom In Barcelona’. If you attended SPIEL19 you might have seen the game. I am always happy when designers or artists contact me about their project so I Zoomed in on the game. It is with great joy that I share this interview with the English artist – based in Barcelona: Sophie Wainwright.

Tell us a little about your artistic background? 

Without sounding like too much of a cliche, I’ve always been interested in art. I was drawing at a young age and it’s something my parents have always encouraged. 

As a teenager, I used to play online games and would sell illustrations of players’ avatars to make gold etc.

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Obscurio artist Xavier Collette says – ‘be yourself’

Recently there’s been a hashtag on twitter I love to follow. #10days10cards – It is a great source for beautiful card arts.

Post by @notplayingtowin on Instagram

SO when the Instagrammer @Notplayingtowin chooses to post this image I can only agree – it is wonderful. And the artist that stands behind some of the iconic visuals from the beloved game Mysterium is also behind the new equally beautiful Obscurio -published by Libellud. That is the Belgian Xavier Collette now living in France. I bet that I am not the only one that is awestruck by the incredible skills showing in his art. I’ve asked Xavier about his art beginning like always with his background.

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The ultimate challenge – almost.

In this post I will talk about the 18 card game contest that Button Shy Games has initiated this month. And there is still time for you to enter with a winning design – but I will assume this will be a contest with a humongous list of designers participating – and I will elaborate why.

To spark creativity in group you can make a lot of different sprint type exercises. Do an association play where you must generate new thought from one keyword. Or make reverse brainstorm where everybody should try to think about the worst possible solution – sometimes the right solution stands clear after this exercise. It is all really about setting boundaries – narrowing your mind’s playground. If you really want to generate interesting new ideas you should set a clear goal and a very confined play area. Our brains are wired to find the keys we need (In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, states that our brain is bad at multitasking -and prefers to solve one single task at the time).

Button Shy Games as many of you already know is a small publisher of pocket-sized games – and more particular often 18 cards. They have put out an open contest to create a game of well… 18 cards – but with the small twist that it has to be 18 IDENTICAL cards. And this is the escape room for designers. Your first thought might be impossible (mine was) – then you might think ‘uninteresting and boring output’ and in just a few moments your mind is starting to work the problem and think ‘hey it might work’.

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Mad hat designs from Paolo Voto

It is not an easy task to create art that draws you closer with a vivid and magical atmosphere that matches the one in the fairy tales of Lewis Carrol. If you attend Gen Con you can experience just that in the game “Hats” designed by Gabriele Bubola and released by Thundergryph Games. Let me present you the incredibly talented artist Paolo Voto from Bologna in Italy.

Tell us a little about your artistic background? 

My journey in the illustration world began as a child. I cannot tell exactly when because, from what I remember, I demonstrated a great interest for drawing straightaway. For this reason, I have studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts for a couple of years. Indeed due to personal circumstances, I did not graduate.

The first professional tool which gave me the chance to earn some money is the airbrush pen. The same I have used to customize several choppers motorcycles. After that, I worked for a confectionary company where I used to decorate chocolate eggs and similar products for many years.

Meanwhile, I came closer to digital, I made my first illustrations with Photoshop getting more and more skilled.

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